Pearson plc and The University of Oxford establish a new centre for research in Educational Assessment

Pearson and The University of Oxford today announce the establishment of a long-term collaboration to undertake research and international development work in educational assessment. The collaboration will bring together research expertise in the University's highly acclaimed Department of Education (previously known as the Department of Educational Studies *) with Pearson's international expertise in educational assessment..

In an initial ten-year relationship with the University of Oxford, Pearson will fund and support the establishment of a new international research centre and a Pearson Professor of Educational Assessment at the new centre, to be called the Oxford University Centre of Educational Assessment, as well as two doctoral studentships and administrative support.  The new research centre will be formally launched in autumn 2007.

The research at Oxford will look at new approaches to educational assessment to help improve the understanding of different types of learning processes and outcomes.   It will examine the opportunities offered by recent advances in learning and assessment technologies and the challenges presented by the increasing requirement for global qualifications and standards. The wide-ranging research programme covers general school-based learning, as well as vocational, professional and higher education and support the move to life long learning, the needs of multi-national employers and an increasingly global workforce.

The University and Pearson will also join forces in undertaking research and development projects for international governments and development agencies. 

Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson plc, said:

"In this  global economy, there is a growing demand from educational institutions, companies and individuals for rigorous, internationally comparable assessments and qualifications as well as testing to promote learning. This exciting collaboration with Oxford University will underpin our educational assessment programmes with high quality research and thinking, and allow us to better help governments, educators and students learn and compete."

Dr John Hood, vice-chancellor of Oxford University said:

"We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Pearson.   The agreement gives us an exciting and timely opportunity, as education becomes increasingly global, to lead research that will help improve learning and assessment systems in the UK and around the world."

Professor John Furlong, the Director of the University's Department of Education, said:

"This exciting development will build on and extend our existing research capacity in new and important ways.  Understanding more about educational assessment is increasingly recognized as a key factor in promoting effective teaching and learning right across the educational system."

For further information, please contact:

Deborah Lincoln, Pearson, 02070102310  or Deborah.lincoln@pearson.com

Oxford University Press Office        01865280534  or press.office@admin.ox.ac.uk

Notes for the Editor

1.      Pearson is a world leading  education and information company.  From pre-school to college, early learning to professional certification, Pearson textbooks, multimedia learning tools and assessment programmes help educate more than 100 million people worldwide - more than any other private enterprise.   It is a global leader in electronic testing services, providing testing services for academic admissions, certification and licensure programmes, with a network of over 4,000 test centres in 145 countries.   It is the leading provider of educational testing services in the US to schools, districts, states and the Federal Dept of Education, and through its Student Information Systems, provides assessment, reporting and business solutions to over 25m students in over 29,000 schools.  In the UK, it offers academic and vocational qualifications and testing to more than 25,000 schools, colleges and employers in over 100 countries worldwide, and delivers 9.4m exam scripts each year, with 3.8m marked on-screen in 2006.

*2.        The University of Oxford's Department of Education changed its name from the Department of Educational Studies in early February

Oxford's Department of Education has a leading reputation for its work in child learning, comparative and international education, professional education, teacher education, and e-learning.  The staffing of the Department and its number of graduate students is expanding: last year it appointed five new professors, established five new lecture-ships and attracted funding for four post-doctoral positions.  It is led by Professor John Furlong.

Ofsted and the TDA have consistently rated the Department as the highest quality provider in England for the training of secondary school teachers.

3.        Pearson's international development work in the area of educational assessment and standards for general, vocational and professional learning is led by Professor Jim Tognolini, Director, Pearson Research and Assessment based in Sydney.